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LETTER | Diplomacy and Malaysia’s support for Palestine

LETTER | The Israel-Palestine conflict is a matter of global concern that evokes intense emotional responses.

Malaysia, like many others, is resolute in expressing its support for the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people.

Regrettably, this has also caused some anxieties among Malaysians that the US may impose sanctions on our country due to this unwavering support.

Although differences in opinion are unavoidable, we must find ways to handle these situations without jeopardising the broader relationship between our two countries.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has never explicitly supported any particular organisation in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Instead, he engaged with various stakeholders to leverage his goodwill and interpersonal relationships to pursue peace and justice for all parties involved.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim

The fundraising campaign successfully raised RM100 million to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in need. This distinction emphasises the compassionate side of Malaysia's engagement in the conflict, without taking sides.

Given the economic cooperation where US companies have made considerable investments in Malaysia, it is best to maintain a good relationship between both our countries.

For this reason, imposing sanctions on Malaysia would not only hurt Malaysia but the US as well, making it an untenable decision. Any strain between both countries will have severe and unnecessary implications that can be avoided.

Justifiably, both Malaysia and the US should continue to pursue diplomatic solutions and dialogue to address these concerns.

It is truly disheartening to see Malaysia being pressured into condemning Hamas as a terrorist organisation, especially in the context of diplomacy and international relations.

The Israel-Palestinian conflict is complex, with many differing perspectives. Surely, a country that champions democracy and free speech would be able to understand differences in opinion.

Demarches not helping

On the other hand, the regressive imposition of the three demarches by the US can hinder the diplomatic process and create challenges in achieving peaceful resolutions to such international conflicts.

Malaysia and the US established diplomatic relations on Aug 31, 1957, and Malaysia was the first country in Southeast Asia to recognise Palestine as a country in 1988.

Regardless, Malaysia's diplomatic ties with the US were established long before Palestine, and this holds considerable significance.

Granted, it is in the best interest of both countries to continue their mutual support and collaboration and to set aside any differences of opinion as a mark of respect for the freedom of thought.

Jason Ong Khan Lee is a former assemblyperson for Kebun Bunga.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.